Ohio State secondary sticking with man-to-man approach

COLUMBUS — There was no getting around it.

During the first half of Ohio State’s 49-26 Homecoming victory against Indiana, the Hoosiers’ wide outs did a number on the OSU secondary.

The Buckeyes (6-0) improved mightily in the second half, but Urban Meyer recognized that pass defense is a bit of a liability at this point.

During his weekly news conference at “The Woody,” Meyer said there’s a “common theme” in the breakdown of how breakdowns occur in that area.

“And I don’t want to get into too much detail other than it’s a variety of things,” he said. “But getting second level, when someone gets second level, get them on the ground and then some coverage issues we’ve had.”

Indiana’s ability to convert the long passes figured mightily in it being able to stay with Ohio State as long as it did.

The Hoosiers scored 20 first-half points behind nine completions of 10 or more yards, two of which — 32 and 19 — that went for touchdowns.

In the quarter, Indiana QB Peyton Ramsey was 6 of 12 for 57 yards. He really hit his targets in the second, going 11 of 17 for 182 yards.

From there, Ohio State clamped down. In the third quarter, Ramsey was 7 of 16 for 70 yards. Then, in the fourth, he was 2 of 4 for 13 yards. The Hoosiers were limited to six points in the second half.

“Well, you look at the last half of the game, they held them to 100 yards,” Meyer pointed out and also created a couple of turnovers, stopped them on fourth down. There’s a lot of positives.

“What happens on the negative are interference calls or jump ball-type things. We look at everything, overanalyze everything. It’s a variety of things.”

The Buckeyes have played mostly a man defense under Meyer and he said Indiana found a way to exploit it early.

“It didn’t really snap at us like it did (Saturday),” Meyer said. “Penn State, guys made some plays on us. But (Saturday) we really felt it. I felt it. The first half was awful.”

Meyer said he and his staff have already looked at other options.

“We have very good personnel,” he said. “Something we’ll keep working at.”

The defense also forced three punts, a turnover and a missed field goal.

Indiana only had the ball 2:49 in the fourth quarter, another indicator the Buckeyes’ defense strengthened as the game progressed. And it’s a unit that’s still trying to recover from the loss of all-American defensive end Nick Bosa. Bosa, who’s expected to be out until at least next month,

“I didn’t think we really made any adjustments,” safety Jordan Fuller said. “We were just doing our job and playing hard.”

Fuller, Ohio State’s starting free safety, is one of the injured players who’s returned to provide more stability for a defense that’s also seen the return of middle linebacker Tuf Borland.

Chase Young has been a pleasant surprise for the Buckeyes. The sophomore DE totaled six tackles against Penn State and also had two pass break-ups with balls batted at the line of scrimmage and two quarterback hurries. Young ended a third. Against the Hoosiers, he had four stops and a tackle for loss.